In the direction of restoring confidence

In the direction of restoring confidence


noun: 1. full trust; belief in powers, trustworthiness, or reliability of a person or thing. . . .

1. faith, reliance, dependence. See trust. . .

1. mistrust.

The opposite of confidence is mistrust. The central goal of the concerned citizens in Educate Springboro is to rebuild eroding trust in our community and schools. With each new money levy defeat in Springboro, frustrated levy proponents have searched for blame rather than answers.

As Educate Springboro sought to add its voice to our district’s board of education, we campaigned for confidence. More than that, we campaigned for the confidence for all stakeholders—the newly married couple in a starter home and farmer in Clearcreek Township; the parents who would to give everything for their child and the grandparents who watched their savings evaporate in the stock market; the employed and the unemployed; the alumni and the new resident; and so many others.

The idea of confidence is so simple, it was one of three promises Jim Rigano and I pledged during our campaign for school board in 2011:

Children First:  Budget for educational and support services for children first.  No holding parents hostage over things like busing and classroom fees.  Reduced pay to participate fees so more families can afford to pursue extra curricular activities.

                  PROMISE KEPT!

Rebuild Confidence:  Worked to make sure the strife and waste caused by 5 unnecessary levy attempts does not have to occur again by doing our committee and board work in a public and transparent fashion.  We turned the TV cameras back on so you can hold us accountable and see for yourself the workings of the board.

                  PROMISE KEPT!

Control Spending: While our opponents were focusing on the unnecessary pursuit of new taxes, we analyzed the budget presenting 12 concrete budget saving steps worth over $30mm.  The result: a $6mm surplus, lower P2P fees, restored services for children, and raises for all the staff.  All done without the necessity of new tax revenues or the contentious levy campaigns that accompany those requests.

                  PROMISE KEPT!

“When change is not happening at the top, a revolution begins at the bottom.” (Quote cite below).  Two years ago the community sent its recommendation to the board for its future and direction.  Two new board members were elected against a wall of opposition, both overt and covert, began the task of transforming a purported financially troubled district into one that is the envy of others.  With an administration that was transformed from moribund to an innovative and outstanding central office staff, we are employing efficiency plans. These plans are allowing us to reallocate resources and meet district needs, including an unprecedented investment in technology and curriculum to create a 21st century learning environment for students and teachers. We call these strategies and plans, levy alternatives!

Zero-based budgets and efficiency plans are not controversial – its just good business for the benefit of our children, their teachers, and the taxpayers who fund our program.  Updated technology and curriculum are not controversial – they are just good for our children’s future, their teachers, and the taxpayers who fund our program.  Buses that run and roofs that don’t leak are not controversial – they are just good common sense.  Putting children first is reasonable, rational, and the responsible thing to do.  It is quite simply the right thing to do.

So, where’s the controversy?

Do you ever hear anyone arguing against a balanced budget?  Anyone come out and say improving our technologic base is a bad idea?  Has someone really made a case against transparency in school governance?  Is it really a choice between paying our teachers more and our children’s transportation safety? 

The manufactured cries of anguish create false frenzy, carried over from earlier malicious political school board campaigns.  Already, we stand on the cusp of the next political campaign. Our voters will decide on a renewal levy that asks for LESS money.  They also will vote in November on three places on our board of education.

While our local newspapers write stories about school districts continually fighting for more new money, emotionally blackmailing & bullying parents by threatening to cut services, raise pay to participate fees, as well as a host of other onerous threats, we in Springboro enjoy FINANCIAL STABILITY in our budgets, LOWER FEES for families, LOWER TAXES for our taxpayers, and an education platform PRIMED TO EXCEL.  

There will be a call to change direction. Our recent blog posts have looked at direction we have proposed. Here is a quick reminder of the direction we have traveled together since January 1, 2012.

From In the direction of common sense:

“For too long, the district appeared to work very well, but it lacked clear direction. With no plan for textbooks, technology, capital improvements, buses and more, there was no larger financial plan charted for our schools.  By ordering and categorizing our priorities we were able to support our common mission all while not having to ask the taxpayers for more new money.  This common sense approach does not strip the district of our collective traditions or diversity.  It does not ignore its accomplishments and honors.  It simply gives us a unifying direction that extends beyond any individual, building, or year.”

From In the direction of fair:

“A year ago, our district faced a sort of ‘perfect storm’ with needs for everything from buses and books to technology and staffing coming to the surface at the same time. Through good management and some good fortune, our once rudderless ship emerged from that storm with clear leadership and direction. We recognize that there are still challenges, some seen and some no one as yet even recognizes, but we are continually moving in the direction of putting Children First.”

From In the direction of unity:

“Even after plans to invest millions in technology, curriculum, buildings and buses, and even after providing every employee with raises, we are financially prepared to give something back to the taxpayer – to give back to those who give to us, by reducing their tax burden. The renewal levy on the ballot in November will be set at a lower mileage rate to reduce taxes generated by that levy by nearly 15 percent.”  UNPRECEDENTED IN PUBLIC EDUCATION!

From In the direction of sustainability:

“While we are meeting and exceeding state mandates, there remains much room for academic improvement across the board. In as much, we are building a technology backbone, investing in computers, curriculum, buses and buildings – we are putting children first to move them further along the academic path than they were yesterday.  Most important, we are being honest about what is needed through 2017. This is reform at the local level, and this is working together toward sustainability.”

In a relatively short time frame much has been accomplished, yet there is much more that remains to be done.  For the first time in years, our district has direction.

With the help of our community we can make the Springboro School District the one district that is much imitated, yet never quite duplicated.

Thank you for joining Educate Springboro and sharing our message with your friends and family as we enter this exciting, uncharted time in the history of Springboro Community City Schools.

Portions of definition of confidence from

Quote: “When change is not happening….” attributed to New York City Councilman Fernando Cabrera in World Magazine, August 10, 2013, p. 47 while addressing the upcoming city elections.


4 Responses to In the direction of restoring confidence

  1. Pingback: Restoring Confidence in Springboro Schools | Open Springboro

  2. sassypatriot says:

    You are on the right track and doing everything that a school board should be doing. Unfortunately, the NEA, OEA and Springboros arm of the teacher’s union will never be
    satisfied until they control the board again. The Neighbors For Springboro Schools is an
    arm of the union. They are people, much like the wonderful former head of activity fund,
    that can fool some of the people some of the time. It seems to me that people are waking up and most are sick and tired of constantly rising taxes at all levels of government. Teachers are not entited to annual raises, step raises, cost of living raises or escalating benefits. They are not ENTITLED to tenure and a job that will end up paying them almost their final salary in annual benefits after a retirement at the young age of 52 (more or less). Many retire and are rehired on the same day – double-dipping. Teachers should be evaluated twice a year just like any other employee. If they don’t perform up to expectations, I’m very sure there are many people waiting in the wings willing to replace the lazy non-performers.

    Mr. Petroni, you have come far in two short years and I wish you many years of marching onward and forward improving Springboro schools. You have an entire nation watching you. You have an entire union (millions) hoping that you fail. Many of us will be praying for your success.

  3. Bruce Browne says:

    The opposition ramps up its attacks on what by any measure is impressive performance. The BOE detractors (OEA, NEA, Springboro United for Responsible Education – SURE) will not be satisfied until the former status quo has been restored with excessive spending, a never ending request for taxpayer levees, union cronyism and platinum level union deals. This all goes in the face of our Springboro citizens who have all taken a financial haircut, reduced Social Security for our seniors and overall poor performance from our nation’s leaders in the last 5 years.

    Continue doing with what you know is right, the performance of the BOE will provide you with all the political currency you need to carry on. You have my families, neighbors and anybody in my circle of influence support.

  4. Grateful in Springboro says:

    Rarely do we see elected officials with such high aspirations for our children’s education as we are fortunate to have serving our Springboro schools! In just eighteen months, our reform minded BOE majority have risen to the difficult task of challenging the tunnel vision of status quo; and inspired us all to seek substance over symbolism for our children’s 21st century education! Our long-term goals should reflect our highest aspirations–goals that we can reach only if we stretch ourselves, do the best we can, and be the best that we can be. Thanks to our board members Mrs. Kohls, Mr. Petroni, and Mr. Rigano, our school district and community are successfully headed in the right direction; and there is just no better place to be. Let’s be encouraged that our school district has a new vision; and let’s encourage all to see clearly;
    and not let our vision be dulled by apathy, prejudice, or ignorance. Life is Good! Let’s make it better, working together, for the future of our schools and community.

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